Police in Worthing work to counter threat from drug gangs
High-visibility police patrolling and the issuing of dispersal orders against abusive street drinkers in Central Ward is being well received by local businesses.
Arrests are being made frequently and the use of stop and search powers have yielded good results, but the constraints of the judicial system and negative commentary on social media are doing little for police morale.
Reporting at the Town Central Police Neighbourhood Meeting last Thursday, Inspector Allan Lowe said a dispersal order could be used over 48 hours to direct those behaving anti-socially away from the area.
If they return to that area after being moved on, they face being arrested. Authorisation for such an order has to be in writing and must specify the grounds for such action.
One arrest had been made at the Guildbourne Centre but most people had moved on and alcohol had been surrendered when requested. It is an offence not to surrender alcohol when requested by a police officer although drinking in a public place does not, in itself, constitute an offence.
| Also in the news - a driver who attempted to out-run police after crashing into two cars in Worthing has been convicted of multiple motoring offences; a giant observation wheel on Worthing’s seafront has been given permission for the next three years; and a man found slumped over his steering wheel with a sword and a crack pipe stashed in his car has been jailed |
Countering the threat from drug gangs and the county lines had involved Worthing being sealed off for a day with resources concentrated at Worthing Station, together with visits to properties where drug dealing was taking place. Victoria Park was identified as a dealing area with many trades at lunchtime and an upsurge in cocaine use among middle income groups over the last two years noted.
Many drug couriers carry knives but 43 per cent of stop and search instances had yielded positive results, although a recent incident at Bohunt School had generated negative commentary on social media. The problem was people tend to believe what others have posted on social media and this does not necessarily reflect the truth.
With 33 emergency incidents being covered, it was not always the case that Sussex Police could respond as quickly as they would wish.
• Tim Drew is the secretary and press officer for the Worthing Neighbourhood Watch Association. For more information about the Worthing & Adur Neighbourhood Watch Associations click here.
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